Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Danger of the Single Story ~ A Ted Talk with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

After reading, We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a friend of mine recommended watching The Danger of the Single Story ~ A Ted Talk with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. 

I promptly watch The Danger of the Single Story ~ A Ted Talk with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, which is approximately 20 minutes in length and was blown away once again by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's wisdom!

My favorite quote in the above video from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is: "The single story creates stereotypes and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story." 

Diversity is key and knowing all sides of a story is crucial in understanding the world around us.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Paperback Nonfiction
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a short book that is 52 pages in length. It's a nonfiction essay dealing with the specific topic of feminism. I was able to read this book in one sitting!

I've been wanting to read We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for quite awhile and had planned to read it next month for Women's History Month. However, I simply couldn't wait to read it sooner rather than later... I'm glad that I decided to read We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie earlier than anticipated.

Although I thoroughly enjoyed reading We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, I felt like several ideas discussed in Adichie's book, were ideas I was already familiar with through reading other feminist texts. However, that doesn't mean that I didn't learn anything new at all or that I didn't enjoy the powerful message contained between it's covers.

What I enjoyed most about reading We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is that it is very readable, yet contains a very powerful, straightforward message about the importance of being a feminist. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie also makes a great case on why it is important to begin raising our children differently without the usual gender stereotypes/biases. 

I think We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie should be read by everyone, men and women alike. We all have the power to change our views and outlook to make the world a better, more inclusive place for all.

Below is a synopsis of We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie from Amazon:
The highly acclaimed, provocative New York Times bestseller—a personal, eloquently-argued essay, adapted from the much-admired TEDx talk of the same name—from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, award-winning author of Americanah. Here she offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century, one rooted in inclusion and awareness. Drawing extensively on her own experiences and her deep understanding of the often masked realities of sexual politics, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman now—and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists.
I am giving We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie a rating of 4 stars out 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

An Untamed State by Roxane Gay

ebook Edition ~ Fiction
I finished reading the novel An Untamed State by Roxane Gay earlier this afternoon and it is the first work written by Roxane Gay that I have actually read... I've had the eBook edition of An Untamed State in my 'to be read' pile on my Kindle for roughly 2 years before I decided to finally read it. I had been putting off reading A Untamed State as I'd heard that it is a difficult novel to read due to the nature of the events that take place in the novel itself.

So, let's start from the beginning. I am really glad that I read An Untamed State by Roxane Gay. I completely and fully understand the accolades that Roxane Gay receives for her writing prowess as An Untamed State is skillfully and solidly written. There isn't a thing I would change about the way this novel is written... The characters, storytelling, plot, themes, pace, flow, and so on are amazingly well done!! A Untamed State is a captivating novel from start to finish. 

As much as I truly enjoyed reading An Untamed State by Roxane Gay, it is a difficult novel to read due to the nature of what happens to the leading character, Mireille Duval Jameson... If you are at all squeamish reading about a violent kidnapping, brutal mental and physical assault and rape/gang rape + the aftermath of moving forward and putting one's life back together, then maybe this isn't the novel for you to read.

I think Roxane Gay does an exceptional job writing about privilege and the juxtaposition of crushing poverty.  Gay touches upon the theme of fairy tales and that fairy tales can easily be destroyed. There is no sugarcoating what happens to Mireille Duval Jameson's character in this novel. Gay paints a very multifaceted portrait that not only shows how the kidnapping effects Mireille, but how it effects her entire family. 

It took me ten days to read An Untamed State by Roxane Gay. It's a novel I could have finished reading a lot sooner, however, I found myself needing time to process what I was reading... Plus, other activities in real life cropped up that need to be addressed as well. 

So, far An Untamed State by Roxane Gay is my favorite read for the month of February 2018. 

As a fun side note, last year, I was lucky enough to hear/see Roxane Gay speak at the 2017 Bay Area Book Festival in Berkeley, California. Her talk was amazing!! I was able to have Roxane Gay sign two of her books for me. So, now I have Difficult Women and Bad Feminist to read by Roxane Gay as well. I look forward to reading both books.

The following is a plot summary for An Untamed State by Roxane Gay from Amazon:
Roxane Gay is a powerful new literary voice whose short stories and essays have already earned her an enthusiastic audience. In An Untamed State, she delivers an assured debut about a woman kidnapped for ransom, her captivity as her father refuses to pay and her husband fights for her release over thirteen days, and her struggle to come to terms with the ordeal in its aftermath.
Mireille Duval Jameson is living a fairy tale. The strong-willed youngest daughter of one of Haiti’s richest sons, she has an adoring husband, a precocious infant son, by all appearances a perfect life. The fairy tale ends one day when Mireille is kidnapped in broad daylight by a gang of heavily armed men, in front of her father’s Port au Prince estate. Held captive by a man who calls himself The Commander, Mireille waits for her father to pay her ransom. As it becomes clear her father intends to resist the kidnappers, Mireille must endure the torments of a man who resents everything she represents.
An Untamed State is a novel of privilege in the face of crushing poverty, and of the lawless anger that corrupt governments produce. It is the story of a willful woman attempting to find her way back to the person she once was, and of how redemption is found in the most unexpected of places. An Untamed State establishes Roxane Gay as a writer of prodigious, arresting talent.
I am giving An Untamed State by Roxane Gay a rating of 5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

9 Books Donald Trump Really Needs To Read

President's Day has officially come and gone, but I couldn't help but notice and read an interesting article on Bustle's website titled, 9 Books Donald Trump Really Needs To Read, From 'Between The World And Me' To 'I Am Malala' by Melissa Ragsdale.

In the article, Melissa Ragsdale wrote the following:
It's been more than a year since Donald Trump became president, and in that time, he has shown a phenomenal distaste for reading of any kind. Recent reports claim that he doesn’t read his top-secret intelligence reports. Full Frontal with Samantha Bee even did a segment that jokingly theorizing that perhaps the president can't read at all.

This is a problem for many reasons. As president, Trump’s goal ought to be to represent all of America, and one of the easiest ways to understand the hearts and minds of people whose experiences are different from yours is to read widely.
It's pretty unlikely that Trump will see this list, let alone follow my recommendations. But even if he can't or won't read these books, these books are essential reading for every American. The more knowledge we spread, the better equipped we all are to make the world a better place.
I've already read three of the books mentioned in Melissa Ragsdale's article ~ I Am Malala, Night, and Nasty Women ~ and agree that all three books are most definitely worth the read for a better understanding of the world around us. 

I also have added a few of the other book titles to my ever growing reading wish list.

Whether the books listed in the above article are the best ones out there to be be read by President Trump or not, is irrelevant to me... I simply question whether the message contained within in each book would make any positive impact on President Trump at all. 

I think the books listed in Melissa Ragsdale's above article would make for great reading whether the President reads them or the rest of the nation reads them. 

Reasons Why Not to Use the Phrase 'The Great American Novel'

I came across an article on Bustle's website titled, "The Great American Novel" Doesn't Do Justice To The Breadth And Greatness Of Literature In The U.S. by Kristian Wilson. In the article, Kristian Wilson makes a great case why we should avoid using the phrase "The Great American Novel".

In the above mentioned article, Kristian Wilson writes the following:
When he first coined the phrase "Great American Novel" in the title of an 1868 essay, John De Forest probably didn't imagine that people would still be running down his dream 150 years later. Writing for The New York Times in 2015, Cheryl Strayed pointed out that most of us mistake De Forest's intention. She argues that, rather than a single, definitive book — a "picture of the ordinary emotions and manners of American existence" — De Forest's essay was intended to inspire "not one Great American Novel, but rather the development of a literary canon that accurately portrayed our complex national character." Can one book do that? I don't think so.
I'd tend to agree with Kristian Wilson that it would be difficult for one novel to capture the complexities of our nation in one tome. 

I also think Kristian Wilson offers the following wisdom by writing the following in her article as well:
So let's cut the pursuit of the Great American Novel and focus on what really matters: producing and promoting literature written by people at every intersection of the American experience.
What are your thoughts??

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Are You A Fan Of True Crime Podcasts?? Then You Need To Check Out 'West Cork' On Audible!!

Yesterday, I discovered that Audible has an original true crime podcast series called 'West Cork' AND this podcast sounds amazing!! Read the following summary about 'West Cork' from Audible:
This much we do know: Sophie Toscan du Plantier was murdered days before Christmas in 1996, her broken body discovered at the edge of her property near the town of Schull in West Cork, Ireland. The rest remains a mystery.
Gripping, yet ever elusive, join the real-life hunt for answers in the year’s first not-to-be-missed, true-crime series. Investigative journalist Sam Bungey and documentarian Jennifer Forde guide listeners through the brutal, unsolved murder and the tangled web of its investigation, while introducing an intricate cast of characters, a provocative prime suspect, and a recovering community whose story begs to be heard.
There have already been over 2,400 ratings for 'West Cork' on Audible from audio listeners with an overall average rating of 4.2 stars. 

Additionally, I've learned that 'West Cork' is FREE to download from Audible through May 9, 2018. Plus, 'West Cork' offers an online interactive feature on their website as well. Pretty cool stuff, right!?

I've already download 'West Cork' and look forward to listening to it.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Audible Is Producing Plays As Podcasts

I love listening to Audible productions. Earlier today, I read an article published on Bustle's website titled, Audible Is Producing Plays As Podcasts, And You Can Listen To Them In A Single Sitting by Kristian Wilson. In the article, Kristian Wilson wrote the following:
If you have a favorite play you'd love to own as a portable recording, this audiobook platform might have you covered. Audible is now producing audio plays for listeners to enjoy, and the starting lineup looks downright inspirational. Here's what you can expect from this new endeavor. 
Audible recently designated $5 million to bankroll the work of 15 up-and-coming playwrights, who will write audio plays with no more than two characters. This new format means that you can swap out your evening podcast for a full-length play you've purchased through the Audible platform. Although the inaugural class of artists was "chosen by an advisory board of judges," according to the Observer, The L.A. Times says that "[f]uture Audible commissions will be announced on a rolling basis . . . relying on an open-submission process in conjunction with input from an advisory board."

Seventy-three percent of the inaugural class of Audible playwrights are women and people of color. 
These plays look promising to listen to for sure!!  

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day to All My Blogging & Reading Friends!!

May your day be filled with love and 
surrounded by those you hold dear...

May you also find some quiet time
to devote to the joys of reading a book!!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Ten Very Hot & Steamy Romances!!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader GirlTop Ten Tuesday was originally created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

With Valentine's Day happening tomorrow, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite hot and steamy romances!

1. Kentucky On The Rocks by Gwendolyn Grace
2. Black Mark's Resistance by Ebony Olson
3. Bone Deep by Bonnie Dee
4. Pure Sex by Lucinda Betts, Bonnie Edwards, & Sasha White
5. Ivan (Her Russian Protector #1) by Roxie Rivera
8. Sexy In Stilettos by Nana Malone
9. First Night by Lauren Blakely
10. Luca's Mate by Kristina King

Do you have a favorite hot and steamy romance read? If so, please share the title and author in the comment section below!